Bottas set for gearbox change grid penalty

Valtteri Bottas is set to take a five-place grid penalty in the British Grand Prix for a gearbox change, Mercedes has confirmed.

Bottas set for gearbox change grid penalty
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08

Bottas, who won the race at the Red Bull Ring last weekend, led teammate Lewis Hamilton in both of the Friday practice sessions at Silverstone.

But the Finn will not be able to challenge for British GP pole position as he will be taking on a new gearbox before he could complete six races with his previous unit.

The British GP will thus mark a second weekend in a row that an unscheduled gearbox change has led to a Mercedes driver being penalised.

Hamilton was the one sanctioned in Austria, having likewise topped both Friday sessions before the news of his penalty was made public.

He qualified in third place and made it from eighth on the grid to fourth at the chequered flag in the race.

Mercedes has said that Bottas' current gearbox was damaged "in the same way" as Hamilton's prior unit.

The team was trying to "coax" it to the end of the six-race period but was finally unable to do so, although it is now confident that the issue is understood and will not be reoccurring in the future.

Hamilton: Mercedes in "fantastic" shape

Despite having topped both Friday sessions, Bottas reckoned he still needed to make big improvements with the balance of his W08, so as to "be able to trust the car" more around the high-speed British venue.

"We started the weekend well. Ever since the first session the balance was not far away, definitely still work to do to get the car more driveable and to be able to trust it more in the high-speed corners," he said.

"Overall, a good start for the weekend. We need to work as normal, try and make improvements for tomorrow."

Teammate Hamilton was 0.078s off Bottas in FP1 and 0.047s adrift in FP2, albeit his best lap in the latter was on softs to Bottas' supersofts.

"It felt fantastic today," Hamilton said. "With the car we've generally found it's not the easiest to set up on the Friday, we've started on the right foot, the car's felt great so far.

"It makes our evening a little bit easier. We've got really good long runs, really good short runs and now we can really digest that and analyse that data and hopefully set that car up for the best tomorrow."

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